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Oregon-based band to perform at Super Bowl event

When they first met, Tom Pietras was a veteran drummer thinking about resurrecting a music career, while Ryan McGrath was a teenage guitar player thinking about getting one started.

The Oregon residents were part of a new contemporary worship group at Holy Mother of Consolation Catholic Church. Despite a 29-year age difference, they soon bonded on their love of the blues, forming their own band and playing nearly every week... Read More

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School board may table teacher pay referendum

The Oregon School Board will likely postpone a proposed teacher compensation referendum members had hoped to place on the April ballot, according to an Oregon Observer report. ... Read More

Former teacher banned from social media in explicit Snapchat photo case

Former teacher banned from social media in explicit Snapchat photo case

A former teacher was banned from social media for two years after pleading guilty to sending nude pictures to students.

Brandon Amato got emotional in court Tuesday when the judge also sentenced him to six months in jail.

He sent illicit Snapchats to two Stoughton High School students last summer. Amato worked at Stoughton High School as a teacher and coach between 2013 and 2014.

Amato apologized during his hearing Tuesday.

"I can promise you, you will never come across a more remorseful person in your lives. I have had a lot of time to think about things I've done, and I take full responsibility for my actions," Amato said.

The judge is withholding the full sentence as long as Amato stays off social media and the Internet during a two-year probation.

Oregon-area teen gets online views with 'Mockingjay' music

A homeschooled Oregon-area teen is getting thousands of views on a YouTube video she made by recording original music and pairing it with lyrics from a popular fiction novel. 

Kathleen Leone, 16, told the Oregon Observer she was inspired by Suzanne Collins' "Mockingjay," the third in "Hunger Games" sci-fi trilogy

Since Leone published her video to YouTube on Oct. 20, 2014, the star of the blockbuster films adapted from the book recorded a song paired with the lyrics for the "Mockingjay" movie soundtrack... Read More

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OSD survey: Concerns with referendum

When the Oregon School Board started planning for referendums last year after the spring elections, addressing both teacher compensation and building projects at once was a goal. 

That changed by the end of summer, when the board voted to hold the teacher compensation referendum until April 2015.

The $55 million November building projects referendums passed easily, but with the board just weeks from a deadline to decide on sending a compensation referendum to the ballot in April, there seem to be many more questions than answers... Read More

Chaplain has served Oakhill inmates for a decade

For the past decade, Rev. Emmanuel Okoye has served as chaplain of Oakhill Correctional Institute north of Oregon.

From an A-frame chapel at the northeast corner of the 100-acre grounds, Okoye leads church services, organizes religious study groups and counsels prisoners one on one.

The son of a train conductor, Okoye grew up in a Nigerian village before trying his hand in business in Lagos, Africa’s largest city, in his early 20s. But he felt called to be in the ministry... Read More

Judge rejects plea agreement in explicit Snapchat photo case

A judge rejected the plea agreement Friday in a case that accused a former Stoughton teacher with sending explicit images to students through a messaging app.

Brandon M. Amato, 24, of Madison, was in court at 10 a.m. on felony charges of exposing genitals to a child. Amato is accused of sending two Stoughton High School girls Snapchat images of his penis.

Amato was a temporary teacher and coached for the Stoughton Area School District for about 10 months, an SASD spokesman said. The alleged inappropriate images were sent after Amato left SASD employment. Amato was briefly working in the Oregon School District but was terminated after the inappropriate Snapchat allegations arose, the superintendent said.

On Friday, the Judge William Hanrahan rejected a deal in court and ordered another hearing Tuesday to approach a new plea deal.